The moment has finally arrived for the one member of the field of 33 to create or further their legacy with today’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Alex Palou became the first Spaniard to earn the pole for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” His No. 10 The American Legion Honda will lead the field to the green flag for the sixth round of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Palou is one of four drivers from Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) starting in the top 10, but the only one that hasn’t crossed the illustrious Yard of Bricks first. The rest of the CGR contingent of Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Marcus Ericsson comprise a combined four “500” wins and will roll off sixth, eighth and 10th, respectively.
Live Race Day coverage begins on NBC, Peacock, Universo and the INDYCAR Radio Network at 11 a.m. ET, with the green flag set for 12:45 p.m. Peacock is streaming a pre-race show from 9-11 a.m.
Foyt Fighting To End Drought, Restore Glory
AJ Foyt Racing aims to put an end to a winless drought today at the track where its legacy was made.
The revered race team last won an INDYCAR SERIES event in 2013, which came courtesy of Sato on the Streets of Long Beach. The team’s last win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway came even longer ago, in 1999 when Kenny Brack captured his only “500” victory.
While the current lineup of Santino Ferrucci and rookie Benjamin Pedersen have endured a challenging start to the year, they have showed up this month at The Speedway looking poised to return AJ Foyt Racing to its former glory.
Part of the strength comes with the addition of technical director Michael Cannon, who came from CGR and was pivotal in Dixon’s dominant run of form at IMS the past few seasons, including consecutive poles in 2021 and ’22.
Ferrucci will start fourth in the No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet, while Pedersen lines up 11th in the No. 55 Sexton Properties/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet as the fastest rookie in the field. Ferrucci has never finished outside the top 10 in four “500” starts, including a best finish of fourth (2020), despite never starting higher than 15th before this year. Uniquely, Ferrucci’s team owner, A.J. Foyt, started fourth in two of his record-tying four Indy 500 wins.
Cuts Like an Arrow
Arrow McLaren have looked every bit the part of a team to be feared in North America’s premier open-wheel championship.
But it hasn’t won a race this year… yet.
Pato O’Ward, last year’s “500” runner-up, has scored three second-place finishes through the opening five rounds of the season. And the team appears to be peaking at the right time, too, as Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist finished third and fifth, respectively, in the GMR Grand Prix on May 13 on the IMS road course. Toss in an Indy-only fourth entry occupied by 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, and it only bolsters Arrow McLaren’s chances as each of its four drivers this year also happened to finish second through fifth – albeit Kanaan and Rossi with different teams – last year.
Rosenqvist rolls off the best of the quartet today, with his No. 6 Chevrolet starting third. O’Ward starts fifth. Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner, will start seventh, ahead of Kanaan, who will make the final start of his INDYCAR SERIES career from ninth.
Show Me The Money!
Ericsson has a chance to become the first back-to-back winner since Castroneves in 2001 and 2002. If Ericsson scores a second consecutive victory, he will earn a bonus of $420,000 courtesy of BorgWarner, the namesake of the Indy 500 trophy.
That amount is more than the entire yearly purse up to and including the 50th anniversary of the “500” in 1961, which paid $397,910. The field payout jumped to $425,652 in 1962.
There are nine former winners in the field this year, one shy of tying the record of 10 set in 1992. Four-time winner Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021) and two-time winner Sato (2017, 2020) are the only drivers among the 33 to have visited Victory Lane on multiple occasions.
Others to score “500” wins include Dixon (2008), Ericsson (2022), Kanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Rossi (2016), Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019).
Dixon starts the highest among former winners, with his No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda rolling off on the outside of Row 2 in sixth. The most-experienced row in this year’s starting lineup – and comprised exclusively of previous race winners – is Row 3, as Rossi (seven), Sato (13) and Kanaan (21) have a combined 41 career starts and will start seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. Pagenaud starts 22nd (inside of Row 8) in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda for Meyer Shank Racing, the furthest back of any former winners.